Monday, 1 August 2016

Titans Return Wheelie

Titans Return Wheelie

Originally released in 1986 Wheelie and featured in that year's Transformers The Movie, Wheelie is a character that divides Transformers fans somewhat. He's cropped up fairly regularly in the last decade or so being reissued in Japan in 2005 where he was packed with Targetmaster Kup to form Transformers Collection #20 then receiving a new Legends Version, now known as Legions, in 2009 as part of the final wave of Universe 2 which was near impossible to find! A slightly too yellow version of the toy was then released in Japan as part of the Henkei C-19 Minibot Spy Team alongside his western wavemates Warpath & Cosmos. Given their rarity in the west this was snapped up pretty quickly. Most recently in 2012 he was a Generations GDO Deluxe, a repaint and minor remould of Reveal The Shield Jazz. 2016 is the 30th anniversary of the Movie and most of it's major participants have either recently received or will get an update so Wheelie becomes a Titans Return Legend.

Wheelie's robot mode looks pretty good against his animation model. The upper body, arms & head are moulded in a yellowy orange plastic while the waist & lower legs are a brighter orange. Upper legs, forearms, hands & top of the body are white plastic with the chest panel being made from a piece of dark smoked plastic. The articulation on it is very good: ball joints at shoulder, elbow, hips and knees give a good range of movement plus the head and the waist turn. Unfortunately the shoulder ball joints are somewhat loose, possibly due to being open at the top & the side, which means the arms are somewhat prone to popping off when you move them.

So as a robot he's pretty good. However here's where it starts to go wrong....

To transform into car mode start by folding the head back 270° into his back. Fold the rear of the legs out to the sides and round to the front, revealing the wheels pointing out to each side. Rotate the waist 180° - the waist can be a little reticent to move so it's hard to get it lined up precisely and it does need to be done precisely! Rotate each lower leg in 90°, so the wheels are facing each other, and then fold each leg back at the knee locking together round the waist, then fold the knees pads closed to form the front of the vehicle. Rotate each arm in 90° at the elbow so the contours of the moulding line up exactly. Fold the clear chest forward, unlocking the upper body which stretches out to form the rear of the vehicle. Bring the arms in and attach to either side of the waist. Fold the underside of the chest down to form the rear of the vehicle roof and the the clear chest front to form the wind shield.

The problem here is there are lots of tabs & slots that need to be precisely aligned and even when they are there's several that don't quite fit forming a slightly unstable vehicle mode. Transforming it now to describe it is probably the most solid vehicle I've achieved with it. It's a pretty good representation of the original Wheelie vehicle with the front in the bright orange and rear in the more yellowy pale orange. The wheels here are made from the same dark smoked plastic as the wind shield.

This year's Legends are designed for interaction with Titanmasters and Wheelie is no exception: the clear wind shield folds forward and the rear of the vehicle folds backwards to reveal a compartment for a Titanmaster to sit in and drive Wheelie.

Good Robot mode. The car mode is good if you can get it to stay together but manipulating everything into place is something of a trial.

Future Repaints

Original Wheelie has been repainted as Dion while the previous Legends Wheelie became Shadowstriker. Both would be fine repaints for this toy.

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